According to Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, if the ANC loses the 2019 elections, they would have dishonoured Struggle heroes. Picture: Willem Law
Cape Town – “The truth that should stare all of us in the face is that if we lose the 2019 elections we will have completely dishonoured all those people who gave us everything,” says Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

She spoke on Wednesday night at a memorial service in honour of Struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada in Rylands.

The memorial at the Ghousia Manzil Hall, hosted by the Robert Waterwitch Thornhill ANC branch, was also in honour of late fellow Struggle heroes Judge Essa Moosa and lawyers Peter Williams, Ramesh Vassen, Dr Ebrahim Akoojee and Solly Omar.

Sisulu said the current leadership had become complacent and passive. “We lost the City of Cape Town. We complained and explained why we had lost. We lost the entire (Western Cape) province and we did the same – complained and found an excuse,”she said.

“We lost three metros in 2016 and we did not heed the call of our people. They have now taken to marching against us and we are still in denial. We need to regroup, rebuild the organisation."

“The only honour we can give to our stalwarts is to keep their flame burning in the hearts of our people, reignite the burning passion of leaders and capture the future till every clause of the Freedom Charter has been fulfilled.”

Sisulu said by the time Kathrada died he had been very disillusioned, not just with one person “but with all of us”.

“Whatever guidance he tried to give was scoffed at in public by the Youth League and other formations and what did we do? We sat on our hands and did nothing."

“We did nothing to defend him, nothing to reach out to him to assure him that we value his concerns and views."

“All of us sitting here need to ask ourselves why (did) we allow a man who has given so much, to go to his grave with a sore heart.”

She added that in just this year alone they had lost three sterling leaders of the local community.

“How did they feel about us? Were they proud of us? Did they have hope for the future for an organisation they gave their entire lives to?”

Sisulu told Kathrada’s fellow Rivonia Trialist, one of only two surviving, Denis Goldberg that the movement had allowed Kathrada to leave without the honour he deserved.

“We need you very much. We need your wisdom. We thank you so much for everything you have done.

“We have to do it right this time.”

She said Kathrada sought no special favours for the role he had played in the Struggle and was as humble after Robben Island as he was when he went into prison.

Cape Times